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how to grow arugula in containers

How to Grow Arugula

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This guide covers everything you need to know about how to grow arugula in containers. Luckily, arugula is super easy to grow in small space!

Arugula, also known as rocket, rucola, or roquette, is a great cool weather crop for growing in containers in the urban garden. Like many other salad greens, arugula is fast growing and easy to get started, making it a great choice for beginners.

Arugula is great in sandwiches, salad or even on pizza. Its leaves are have a unique peppery taste, and are best harvested while they are still young and tender. An annual plant, arugula must be restarted each year, and can be grown for both spring and fall harvests.


Planting Arugula


Grow arugula in any sized pot, sowing seeds over moist soil leaving 10 cm (4″) of space between seeds. Cover with only 1/2 cm (1/4″) of soil. I personally use this Pro Mix Organic Seed Starter Mix when starting my seeds. It’s top quality stuff that the pros use, so you really can’t go wrong with it!

You want to avoid using regular garden soil when starting seeds in containers because it contains all sorts of large matter, bacteria, and bugs which can hinder your new seedlings from sprouting or growing properly. A good seed starting mix has a fine texture and is sterile — a perfect combination for baby plants to thrive in.

Arugula seeds should sprout in 4-8 days. It’s best to start arugula directly outdoors in the early spring, as temperatures indoors may be too warm and cause the plants to bolt.

To eliminate the guesswork in selecting the right size containers for your plants, we’ve put together a list of commonly grown herbs, veggies, fruit and flowers along with the minimum pot sizes required by each.

Starting a container garden? Grab my free guide on choosing the best sized pots for each veggie, fruit, and herb in your container garden – Veggie Garden Potting Guide


Watering Arugula


Keep well watered. Water when the top 1″ of soil is dry to the touch.


Where Can I Grow It?

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Where and how to grow arugula: Grow arugula outdoors in the cooler months, as it will “bolt” and go to seed in hot weather. Bolting results in a bitter, and very strong unpleasant taste. It can be grown through the winter months in most zones as long as it is put under some sort of protection, such as a cloche.


How to Grow Arugula: Growing Tips


Once the plants have several sets of leaves, you can begin harvesting. Do this by taking a few leaves from the outside of each plant so you’ll have a continuous supply.

Arugula is also considered a “cut & come again crop”, meaning you can cut back with scissors, and it will grow back for a second harvest. Baby leaves have the mildest flavor, and become more peppery as they age.

You may want to sow in small quantities and repeat every 2-3 weeks to keep a continuous supply. Planting too much at once can be a waste, because arugula may get too  mature (and bitter tasting) or bolt before you get a chance to use it all up.


Companion Planting


Grow arugula alongside any of the following for beneficial effects: beets, beanscarrots, cucumbers, dill, lettuce, mint, nasturtiums, green onions, potatoes, rosemary, spinach, or thyme.

Avoid planting with strawberries as they do not grow well together.

Hi - I'm Brie! I’m a plant enthusiast here to help you keep your plants alive and thriving with beginner-friendly plant care advice and tutorials.

I’ve been growing all sorts of plants for years in my tiny apartment, both indoors and on small balconies & outdoor spaces. Let’s create your jungle!

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Hi,
    I used to have a nice garden on the grounds of a suburban house but now live in an apt. bldg. in the city (Pittsburgh). I have a small balcony and want to grow arugula. Your article is very helpful. I just want to know if the plants can stay in the seed starting mix or does organic potting soil with food need to be placed around them once they get going? I used to just sow them on the ground and mother nature took care of the rest :)
    Thank you

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